If fudge and horses and crowds are your thing, Mackinac Island may be the greatest place you could ever be. A misinterpreted contraction of the Ojibwe word meaning "Big Turtle" (mishimikinaak), Mackinac (pronounced Mackinaw) has a rich history including sacred ground, battle field and world trade center. John Jacob Astor became the "world's richest man" and the first multi-millionaire in the US after establishing the American Fur Company which was partially headquartered on Mackinac Island after the War of 1812.
In 1900 the island's blacksmith, Robert Benjamin, built a house that, four years later, was purchased and converted into a hotel. Hotel Iroquois has operated on the island since 1904 having changed owners only twice. It is listed by Travel+Leisure Magazine as one of its "Top 100 Hotels in the World" and Condè Naste Traveler has named it "The Best Small Hotel in the World" three consecutive years. It also makes a great photo.
What happened to Robert Benjamin?! The same year he built his home at the west end of town he was elected sheriff of Mackinac County and moved to St. Ignace. His house was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Poole who converted it into a hotel (Hotel Iroquois). Benjamin's 16-year-old son took over the blacksmith business and ran it on the island until 1965. The Benjamin Blacksmith Shop operates on the island today and is part of the island's Park Commission.